Taste of TAC/QUILA
A poppin' place in Downtown Palm Springs where you can have your tacos and your 'quila too... Case in point: this cute, mini Margarita flight with four tantalizing, tasting sized margaritas.
Tasting Size Margarita flight flavors, from left to right:
BLACKBERRY MARGARITA: Blackberry – Blanco Tequila, Muddled Blackberries, Lime Juice, Orange Liquor, and House Made Blackberry Agave
WATERMELON MARGARITA: Watermelon – Blanco Tequila, Orange Liquor, Lime Juice, Watermelon Juice, Grand Marnier and Agave
PINEAPPLE MARGARITA: Pineapple – Blanco Tequila, Pineapple Juice, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Orange Liquor, and House Made Pineapple Agave
KIWI MINT MARGARITA: Kiwi Mint – Blanco Tequila, Kiwi Puree, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, Cointreau, and Agave
... But I'm getting ahead of myself in terms of our order of operations. :)
After falling in love with the food at TAC/QUILA's sister restaurant, FARM, we knew we had to check out TAC/QUILA before leaving Palm Springs. There's plenty of outdoor seating, as well as patio seating, beautifully vibrant decor (with some festive cobwebs for Halloween), a gorgeous bar, and in keeping up with the thoughtfulness of FARM, TAC/QUILA also has heat lamps to keep folks warm during the cold desert hours.
Our wonderful waitress Yasmin had plenty of delicious recommendations, and we started off our meal with these incredible crab cakes.
Usually I can't eat much of a crab cake of this size because there's almost always a thick breaded or gummy texture that's decidedly not crab, but TAC/QUILA's crab cakes were amazingly fresh, and every bite was almost completely crab and packed with flavor. I've never had a crab cake like this before (and now I'll be craving these when I eat lesser crab cakes)! TAC/QUILA's crab cakes are served sitting on some tasty chipotle tartar sauce, and the pickled cucumber and onion salad was a great counterbalance.
Yasmin also recommended a sangria flight of three. Yup, you heard/read that right, TAC/QUILA not only has a margarita flight - you can also get a sangria flight (or flight of four craft beers on tap if beer is more your jam)! And what better time to experiment than when on vacation. Flights are so fun and perfect for people who want a small taste of a variety of flavors (e.g., me):
Tasting Size Sangria flight flavors, from left to right:
BLANCO SANGRIA: "Blanco” – Tequila, Calvados, Apples, Mangos, Strawberries, Lemon Juice, Lime Juice, and Pineapple Juice
ROSA SANGRIA: “Rosa” – Rose, Bourbon, Chambord, Grapefruit Juice, Honey, Watermelon, Strawberries and Raspberries
ROJA SANGRIA: “Roja” – Red Wine, Mezcal, Orange Juice, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Oranges and Agave
Yasmin recommended that we taste the sangria in the above order, from lightest to strongest. Really liked the flavors of Blanco and Rosa because they were easy to drink and refreshing; in contrast, the Roja was a little too full-bodied/smokey tasting for me, but any Mezcal fans would probably like this one more.
On to the entrées!
GRILLED SKIRT STEAK FAJITAS with roasted onions and bell peppers, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and house made corn or flour tortillas, served with a side of arroz verde. Yasmin made this great recommendation for Tim after he asked about a flavorful protein... Great texture and temp on the tortillas (they come out wrapped in a hot napkin) and mouth-watering flavors on the steak.
GRILLED SHRIMP STREET TACOS with a chipotle marinade, Napa cabbage, pico de gallo, chipotle mayo, avocado, and served in a corn tortilla. Shrimp tacos usually pique my interest whenever I see them on a menu, and because Yasmin also recommended these, I thought they'd be an excellent entrée and they absolutely were. When there's that much flavor packed into perfectly cooked shrampies, there isn't anything more that can I ask for in an entrée.
And now we're fully caught up to the delightful margarita flights that Yasmin suggested we try with our excellent entrées:
Of the two of us, Tim is the more discerning one, so I'll share his margarita power ranking with you: Kiwi Mint was his favorite by far (very refreshing), followed by Blackberry, Pineapple, and Watermelon.
My ranking or lack thereof is that I loved them all, LOL. I happen to like all of those fruits, so each one was enjoyable, and being able to try each one was very satisfying and appropriately vacay-indulgent. If you're trying to choose one margarita to order, I would say go off of your favorite fruit, but honestly, it's better bang for buck to get the flight if you don't want to choose ($14 for one margarita vs. $21 for 4 tasting sized margaritas).
While enjoying the margarita flight, we thought it would be best to get a little more food since we were still drinking. In lieu of dessert (the dessert menu looked great, but dessert and margs didn't strike us as a good combo), we opted to end on a savory note:
TACO CHIPS with refried beans and a trio of dips(guacamole, ranchero, and chunky salsa verde). This was the only lackluster note to our meal, and it's possible had we started with this as the starter it's meant to be, we might have felt a little bit differently... We found this app to be a very creative take on chips and salsa, but they were on the blander side. We didn't taste much salt within the chips stuffed with refried beans (very pleasing textures, but not savory). Even with the salsa, the taco chips lacked flavor and spice, but that could be: (1) because the Palm Springs audience may not appreciate a spicy salsa, or (2) we simply caught this dish on an off day.
Regardless of how we felt about the taco chips, we left TAC/QUILA feeling happy and grateful for another delicious Palm Springs dining experience, and we definitely plan on visiting TAC/QUILA again the next time we're in town. We enjoyed just about every single bite and TAC/QUILA's unwavering attention to detail, from the overall ambience of the restaurant, to small details like the colorful water carafes for each table, and these beautiful specks of color in our small table for two: